Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen did not manage an attack on the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, but it apparently still is hoping for a propaganda victory — in the form of commemorative issue of its magazine, Inspire.
This seventh issue of the magazine departs from its usual mix of interviews and tips on bomb making in favor of remembrances of what Inspire’s editors call “The Greatest Special Operation of All Time,” according to a copy posted Tuesday by the Site Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi Web sites. The magazine appears only online.
The cover is adorned with an image of one of the World Trade Center towers made from dollar signs. Ten pages inside the magazine are devoted to pictures of the attacks and their aftermath: the towers burning, jihadis training on weapons, military vehicles charred by bomb attacks. There also are photos of Muslims praying with pull quotes from Osama Bin Laden and his successor, Ayman Al Zawahiri, among others.
“The 10th anniversary of 9/11 passed with the world commenting on it. We bring to you some of what the world was saying, and some of the images from that decade to remind our readers of that great day.”
The magazines’s main article, “The Media Conflict,” was written by Samir Khan, a former North Carolina resident, who ran several jihadi Web sites from his parents’ home before moving to Yemen in 2010 to study Arabic and become an editor and writer for Inspire magazine. Khan explains how Al Qaeda has spread its message through their rogue media operation.
There’s no way to know how widely Inspire is read, but when Pfc. Naser Abdo was arrested in July for planning an attack on Fort Hood, in Texas, law enforcement officials found an article from Inspire’s first edition among his belongings.
The magazine says, “While America was focused on battling our mujahidin in the mountains of Afghanistan and the streets of Iraq, the jihadi media and its supporters were in fifth gear. Thousands of productions were produced and dispersed to both the net and real world. Something that was produced thousands of feet above in the mountains of Afghanistan was found distributed in the streets of London and California. Ideas that disseminated from the lips of the mujahidin’s leaders were carried out in Madrid and Times Square.”
There’s nothing about the massive wave of drone attacks that, U.S. officials say, has brought Al Qaeda’s traditional core in Pakistan to the edge of oblivion. And the special forces raid that killed bin Laden in May merits only a vague mention.
It does however give hints of what’s planned for Inspire’s future issues, including an essay by Yemeni cleric and American citizen Anwar Al Aulaqi titled “Targeting the Populations of Countries that are at War with the Muslims.”
Al Aulaqi is among the top targets as U.S. officials build new drone bases that can reach remote parts of Yemen with precision-guided bombs.